Category Archives: DIY


Royal Wedding Inspired Floral Centerpiece

May 17, 2018

Floral Centerpiece Inspired by Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Wedding The royal wedding is just around the corner and if you didn’t know it, I’m Canadian. My commonwealth roots guarantee that I will be watching the ceremony. To celebrate the wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, I created this DIY centerpiece using some of the flowers will be using in their ceremony.

Floral Centerpiece Inspired by Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Wedding

Now let’s put the kettle on and enjoy a little tea party in their honor. And you Head over to Hunker for the full how-to. I have step by step instructions and a list of all the flowers adn supplies you will need.

Royal Wedding Inspired Floral Centerpiece


DIY Folding Chair Cushion

May 11, 2018

Folding chairs are very handy to have, especially cute vintage peachy/pink ones. We always need an extra seat at the table. But, no one wants to get the uncomfortable seat at the table. So, I  made a little felt seat cushion.

You can find the full how-to over on Hunker.

Now what plans do you have for the weekend? Any crafting or diying? We are headed to Santa Cruz this weekend to meet my family for Mother’s Day and to celebrate a couple birthdays as well. So, no making here, but I do hope to hit a flea market or two in the area. We are taking our little vintage trailer, Riley. It’s been a while since we’ve taken him out and I’m excited to get some chill time with my family.

I hope you have a great weekend. And HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!



DIY Match Jars

March 1, 2018

I’m not sure if you can really call this a DIY, because gosh this is sooooo easy. Most folks I know love a good candle now and then. I have them all over my house and it feels like a treat when I light them (which is a couple times per day). And if you are going to have a candle, you have to have a match to light it. But, who wants an ugly match box. I’ve bought pricey little jars of matches many times, but I decided I could definitely do this myself. Now when I gift a candle, a cute little jar of matches will always go with it.

Not only are these just useful to have with a candle, they act as a cute accessory all by themselves. I decided to keep the jars undecorated, but my wheels are already spinning of cute vinyl decals I could add to them at a later date.

Here’s what you will need:

Simply cut a 2 x 1/2 inch strips of the sand paper, remove the backing the stick them on the bottle. Then fill the bottles with matches. I was able to fill 3 bottles with one box of matches.

What do you think? Do you need a couple of these in your home? Oh and if you are a candle person, what are your current faves?


Phone Food Photography 101

January 15, 2018

We’ve all done it, we’ve waited to take that first bite of our meal until we have taken a picture or 20 with our phones. Sometimes the restaurant it just do dang cute or the latte and plate of food is just too delicious not to share. For some reason we just gotta take a quick pic to make all your internet friends hungry. I’m just as guilty as the rest of you, probably a little more guilty than the average instagrammer, if I’m being honest.

Phone Food Photography 101

But, if we are going to share all these foodie pics, let’s do it in the best way possible. Today I’m sharing all my tips for taking better shots of the food we order at our favorite restaurants. No fancy equipment needed, just your phone camera. I have an iphone 6, and all of these images were taken with that phone.

Phone Food Photography 101


Without good, natural light, I think getting a great shot can be almost impossible. Whenever possible, I ask for a window seat, or even better, I sit outside.  Try to avoid overhead light bulbs, because they can cause a glare on the plate or table. Artificial lighting will also cast a very yellow tone to your food and drinks.

In the picture above, I moved to the window sill in the cafe to get this shot of this pretty rose latte. The table tops were all to far from any natural light.

Below is a shot of a yummy brunch at Bluestone Cafe. The restaurant was actually very small and very dark because it was in the annex of an old church. So, even though it was a rainy day in NYC, we sat outside under an umbrella. But, the lighting couldn’t have been better. If we would have eaten inside, this colorful photograph would not have happened.

Phone Food Photography 101


Now that you have found the light source, you can direct it were you want it to go. Unless the sun is directly overhead, usually one side of your table will get more light than the other. Bouncing light on that shady side can give your image a boost and eliminate dark shadows. To bounce light, you usually need something white or very close to the color white. Most times, restaurants have white napkins. Simply have a friend hold the napkin or a menu directly opposite to the light source. By holding this white object on the side of the food that is in the shadow or furthest away from the light source, you can “bounce” light onto that side. The sun will hit that bright object and then reflect a little more light to the other side. Often food and objects can look flat in very shady light. Bouncing light can help bring a little more depth back.

If the sun is very harsh and direct, filtering or blocking the light can eliminate some of those harsh contrasts and dark shadows. Holding up a white cloth napkin to filter the direct sun through can be very helpful. If it is really bright, you might just want block the sun with a menu or even or date. I’ve made my kids or husband stand by my plate of food so that it is entirely in the shade just for a great picture.

Outside of this shot below, my husband is holding up a napkin to bounce light from the window so that the left side of the bowl and table is not dark and shadowy.

Phone Food Photography 101


Often the background to an image can distract from the food or drink you are trying to spotlight. It can be hard to achieve a soft blurred background very closeup with a smart phone. So, if the table top is not attractive, there are other backgrounds that can be considered – your napkin, menu, floor, chair or bench, a wall, and even the clothing you are wearing can work.

Phone Food Photography 101

I have been known to carry a treat quite a distance before taking a bite. This meringue, donut, and Swedish pastry were all carried for a few blocks until I found the right wall to photograph them against. The restaurants were both crowded and cluttered, I didn’t like the dishes they were served on, and a top down image just wouldn’t have done them justice. So, walking to find a wall that would complement and not compete with my subject worked for me.

Phone Food Photography 101

The table top that this coffee was sitting on was a little busy and completed with the pattern and art of the latte. So, I laid out my napkin, in a kind of haphazard way, to create a more calm and bright background.


Ok, first of all, don’t order the meatloaf and mashed potatoes, order food that you know is going to have color and texture. Fruits and veggies are always going to have more vibrant colors.

This is when you can add your personal style to the image. Bringing people into the shot will give the food a little more life and personality, even if it’s just your hand in the shot.  Don’t be afraid to play with what’s already of the table – add a glass to the frame, move the flowers, place the napkin, scatter the cutlery and unfold the napkins, or even pull the condiments out of sight if they are too busy.  And then add some of your own props into the image – a hand, your phone, purse, a scarf, keys, a notebook. When you bring a personal object into the shot, immediately your personal style will come through. If you are a brand, this is where you can tell your story, not just share pretty food that is on the plate.

Phone Food Photography 101Phone Food Photography 101

I like to play with black and white patterns in my feed. This top was a much better contrast to my coffee then the wooden bench behind it. Also my red nail polish was a perfect match to the straw

phone food photography 101


Smart phones have a wide-angle lens and the depth of field cannot be adjusted, so closeup images can appear distorted. This is why top-down food photography is so popular. Straight on can also work well. Holding the plate or glass in your hand or lap, or take the donut and walk over to a wall. (You can see a good example of straight on above where I’m holding the iced coffee.)

If you keep scrolling down, you will see that I tried to take a few pictures of the mugs side on, to show the handles. But, the images were just too distorted. I just fell back on the top-down angle because it is the easiest to work with when you are shooting with a phone camera.


The first step is to clean your lens with the corner of your shirt. You’ve seen it before, just a foggy, blurred image.  Next, hold the camera steady (tuck in your elbow). Touch a focus point on your screen and shoot way more images than you think you need.

And as embarrassing as it might seem in public, take way a lot of pictures. It’s probably mostly strangers around you, so who cares? You can see that I tried a lot of different angles and played with pulling way back and then coming in on some details as well. To get the full table, I was definitely on my tippy toes. Because I took such a variety of shots, this one lunch date has given me at least 4 instagram images over the last year.

Zoom out and zoom in – there is something beautiful about the big scale mess of all the dishes and cutlery on a table and also the close up details of a meal can be just as interesting. I should mention that I am not using the zoom feature on my iphone, simply hold the camera higher or move it in closer to the subject.


First rule – NO instagram FILTERS. Now if you have created your own custom filters on VSCO or consistently use the same filters on A Color Story app, this can be ok. But, sticking with clean, crisp colors  is best when sharing images of food. The Instagram app can do most of the work for you. I use brighten, warmth (especially in the shade), contrast, crop, and tilt (keep those horizons straight). I also like Google’s Snapseed app. I can clean up spots and more detailed lighting issues with this app.

The morning I took this photo of this coffee cup, it was pretty grey and cloudy. Adding a little brightness and some contrast make the colors pop just a little more. I little editing can go a long ways.

Phone Food Photography 101

I hope you find this helpful. No more ugly plates of food in dark restaurant corners. I can’t wait to see what your next meal looks like.


DIY Velvet Earring Tags

December 23, 2017

DIY Velvet Earring Tags

This little DIY is a Anthro hack. When I was in Chicago earlier this month, I saw a cute set of studs all displayed on a velvet tag. I decided this was a great little gift idea I needed to recreate for folks on tighter budgets (like myself). Don’t get me wrong, Anthropologie does everything so well, it’s just a little out of my price range most of the time.

DIY Velvet Earring Tags

So, with a 6 inch length of velvet ribbon, a brass D ring and some hot glue, I gave some inexpensive earrings from H&M, Target, and Forever 21 a much classier presentation. This is a great last-minute stocking stuffer idea, or just a fun gift to hang on the tree for Christmas morning. One of these sets will be going in my daughter’s stocking for sure.

DIY Velvet Earring TagsIt’s pretty self-explanatory, but simply glue down about a 1/4″ of the end of the ribbon to secure the D ring and then cut a V out of the bottom of the ribbon. Then you can just push a few pairs of earrings through the ribbon and secure them with their backs. So easy, and so much better to give then a set of earrings on a cardboard or plastic card!

DIY Velvet Earring TagsDIY Velvet Earring Tags

I now, I better FINALLY finish my Christmas shopping.


Christmas Cards

December 13, 2017

Christmas cards are ready! This feels like a huge accomplishment with all the things that are going on this time of year. I think mostly I make photo Christmas cards so that the grandparents have something up to date to put on their fridge. If you can keep the Grandma’s happy, it always feels like a win.

This year, I hired a photographer friend to take our pictures so that I wouldn’t have to stress about it. But, totally out of her control, she got really sick and couldn’t make our shoot. So, I set up a tripod in front of our house and took a family picture before we headed to church. It’s kind of guaranteed that everyone will look halfway pulled together, and I know everyone will be home at that moment. The picture isn’t fantastic, but it’s pretty darn good. It just goes to show that often we like to overcomplicate things. I’m pretty sure the grandmas will be just as happy with this family shot as they were with last year professional images. I kind of like that our house is in this picture too. Who knows how long we will live here, it’s nice to have this landmark in pictures so we can remember or time here. And, when all else fails, slap a black and white filter on the picture and pick a pretty good foil design.

Mixbook makes holiday card making super easy and they have sooo many gorgeous metallic foil designs now.

I ordered this simple Love and Joy design in gold foil. On the back of the card I added more pictures of my cute kids (remember, these are really just for the Grandmas). Their drag and drop feature, makes it so easy to move around images and try out different layouts.

If you hurry and order cards today, you can get 50% off your order. Check out THIS Instagram post for the coupon code.

Now all I have to do is bribe my kids to write out all the addresses on the envelopes. A candy cane and the threat of Santa not showing up should help.

I know I love to get photo holiday cards from friends and family. Do you send out cards? And more importantly, do you have yours ordered and ready to by shipped?

This post is sponsored by Mixbook. Thank you for supporting the companies that help make this blog possible.


DIY Modern Fall Wreath

October 5, 2017

Fall seems like the season we welcome folks into our homes. We’ve spent all Summer outdoors and now we are ready to snuggle up indoors for a while. A nice way to start this cooler season is to add a pretty handmade wreath to your door. A wreath on your door says that you are expecting folks to be arriving and you wanted friends and family to have a warm welcoming. This year I made this modern, two toned wreath for something a little different. Instead of traditional Fall leaves in browns and oranges, I decided that this was a pretty palette for Fall.

DIY Modern Fall Wreath

Fall is that transition season taking you from Summer to Winter, so this wreath has a nod to the season before and the season to come. Both boxwood and cotton grown here in Southern California, so I was able to do a little foraging for this project. And the nice thing about both of these materials is that they will dry and still stay beautiful for a long time. This idea of a two toned wreath could definitely be done with other greenery and leaves as well. Pinecones paired with Fall leaves could be very pretty.


A New Door for the Guesthouse

September 27, 2017

This is for my instagram friends, before I tell you about our FANTASTIC new door, just watch the video and you’ll find out what color I painted the inside of the door. I know the suspense is killing you.

It’s been a while since I shared an update on our little guesthouse. If you are new here, I’ll fill you in really quickly. We bought our house just over a year ago and one of the first projects we decided to take on was the little guesthouse attached to our garage. Our house was built-in 1918, and the guesthouse need A LOT of work. You can check out the bedroom and bathroom reveals for my details. But, we use the guesthouse for friends and family that come to visit and we also rent it out on airbnb as well.

Craftsman Door by JELD-WEN, installed by Home Depot

We did so much work on the space and we knew that the door needed to be replaced REALLY BADLY. The door was literally falling apart. All the glass panes were tilted and slanted to the side. There were 1 inch wide gaps at the top and bottom of the door that let in dust and bugs on a regular basis. We had replaced the handle and lock earlier in the year, but guests often struggled with the door still. After temps as high as 115 F this Summer, we realized that we just couldn’t keep the room cool. Heat just penetrated through the single pane glass on that door.

But, we just couldn’t work up the courage to take on this big project. If you know anything about old houses, you know that walls, floors and doorways are not always straight or level. In our last house, we replaced an exterior door ourselves and then had issues with it for years to come. And while we do DIY very often, we decided we wanted this project done RIGHT, so we called the experts at Home Depot.

Our house is a Craftsman house, so we really wanted to stay true to that style. Home Depot’s, JELD-WEN Steel Craftsman door seemed like the perfect fit for our house. It comes in 6 classic colors, we chose the crisp white. I love that this door still has some glass at the top, but also still provides privacy. One of the best features of our guesthouse is how bright and airy the space is. We didn’t want to take away all the natural light in that corner of the room.

Not only is this door extremely handsome, this steel door is strong and secure. We are so happy to have an energy efficient door. We’ve already saved in cooling bills and I’m sure we will save with heating this winter as well. This door glides open and shut with ease and seals almost airtight. With the old door, you could see light coming through on all sides, this door keeps the outside stuff outside, where it belongs.

We chose to hire the professionals. Bob + Andy from the Home Depot door installation team went above and beyond in installing our new door. Home Depot’s professional door installers are local, licensed, insured, and have undergone a thorough background-screening, so you can feel confident that you are getting reliable help. My installers took the time and care to remove all the original trim without damaging it and then replaced it like it had never been touched. They also had to cut new moldings for the outside of the door, and did an awesome job keeping with the style and era of the house. These guys worked long and hard. The installation took over 9 hours to do and it was 112 F here on the day they were here working on our guesthouse.

If you are the market for a new door, I would definitely recommend this JELD-WEN Steel Craftsman door and Home Depot installation.

Craftsman JELD-WEN door from Home Depot painted pink.

Oh, and I decided to have a little fun with the inside of the door and paint it a fun color. I polled folks on instagram and a pretty pale pink got over 80% of the votes. I have lots of touches of pink through the room already, and I might as well use this color while millennial pink is still a thing. To be 100% honest, I really just wanted to paint the inside black, like my kitchen door.

This post is sponsored by Home Depot, thank you for supporting the companies that help make this blog possible. 


DIY City Market Bag

September 25, 2017

DIY City Tote Bag

Wanna be a hipster in your own town? Step One: carry a cool market tote bag stating where you live. I made a few bags with my home town, Bakersfield, California proudly stated on the side. Everyone is going to ask you about it and they are definitely going to want one. Which makes you hip, right? I firmly believe have have to love where you live and what better way to say it then to carry the name everywhere you go.

DIY City Market Bag

I started with a couple canvas totes and a tall burlap market bag, both of which I found on amazon (I’ll like them below in the supplies). Then you are going to need to decide what you want you bag to say. I played with two designs. The burlap bag is my copy-cat version of the Apolis market bags. The handle on the amazon one I found is definitely not as nice as the original, but my budget version is holding up pretty well so far. On the burlap bag I mimicked the Apolis font and spacing and on the canvas bags, I simply curved the lettering on the city and state and added a date to the center.

Then, using my new Silhouette Cameo machine, I cut out heat-transfer vinyl letters in a matter of minutes and adhered them to the bags. DONE! I just love a simple, customizable project like this. Each of these bags cost under $20 in supplies to make and they turned out looking like bags something you’d pay a lot more for. This is why we love to DIY, am I right?

DIY City, State, Country Market Tote BagDIY City, State, Country Market Bag

Here’s why I love the Silhouette Cameo – I don’t have to save my work as a jpeg or pdf and then upload it to a program and then cut away all the background. None of that! I can take any font/text or illustration directly from Adobe Illustrator right to the Silhouette software. One click from Ai and I’m ready to cut. Ya, it’s really that easy.

Here’s what you’ll need:

One of these bags:

Simply type out the text with your city, state and country. I used Adobe Illustrator, but you can use the silhouette software as well, make sure you reverse the image before cutting. This video tutorial was helpful. Then, using the Silhouette Cameo, cut out your text. Weed away all the excess vinyl, leaving just the text on the vinyl backing. Place the lettering on the bag where you want it positioned, then using an iron with no steam, adhere the vinyl to the bags.

I used the heat-transfer vinyl in black and white to create high-contrast lettering on the bags. I love how sharp the black bag with the white lettering looks.

I know that definitely not everyone owns a personal cutting machine, like a Cricut or Silhouette. But, for those of you that do, I think it’s fun to share some projects that you can make with your machine. But, if you are serious DIYer, I really do think you’d enjoy having a Silhouette Cameo.

A big thanks to Silhouette for providing me with a machine and play with. 


3 Ways to Hang a Poster

July 20, 2017

Ok, I am a mom of 2 teenagers, so I feel like I know a little bit about them (a very little bit). But, one thing I do know about teenagers is that they LOVE to change their minds, opinions, likes, and dislikes. So, when it comes to decorating a teenager’s bedroom, you have to be ready to make changes and lots of them. Posters are a great way to change up the decor in a big way and on a small budget. But, who wants a million tack holes and tape all over your walls? I’ve come up with 3 ways to hang a poster and not make a singer hole in the wall!

3 Ways to Hang a Poster and Free Peonies Print Download

Ok, let’s start with the poster. Please try to say no to the Back Street Boys and Twilight Movie posters. Mixbook makes adding custom art to your home a breeze. You can even take pictures from your teenager’s phone and blow them up to poster size prints. When my father in law came to visit last month, he brought me bunches and bunches of peonies from his garden. I took some of pictures because they were so AMAZING! These peonies prints are going in my girl’s room (when we finally have a spare moment to work on that space). They are excited for a big splash of pink in their room. And because I love you guys, you get to download these peonies prints for free HEREThis is a limited time free download, so don’t mess around friends, download your copy now and head over to Mixbook and order yourself a poster print or three.

I am so impressed with these poster prints. They come in both glossy and matte, I ordered mine in the matte finish and they look amazing. The colors are bright and vibrant and it feels like the peonies are right there.

3 Ways to Hang a Poster and Free Peonies Print Download

Full disclosure, I have a secret weapon, 3M Command Strips. But, I wanted to use them in a way that would protect the poster and also allow you to change out the art without having to use a new set of Command Strips. I also think these 3 hanging methods actually add to the whole look of hanging a poster.

Here’s my 3 ways to hang a poster without putting any holes in the wall:


3 Ways to Hang a Poster and Free Peonies Print Download

This is my favorite look. It’s super clean and simple and the little wooden knobs are just perfectly cute.

3 Ways to Hang a Poster and Free Peonies Print Download

For this method you will need 4 sets of 1/2 inch ceramic magnets, 1 large 3M Command Strip, and 3/4 inch half round wooden balls. All of these supplies can be found at your local craft store. Start by cutting the Command Strip into 4 pieces. Then pair the magnets up and hot glue the wooden knob onto one of the magnets and adhere the velcro to the other magnet. Finally, you will adhere the other side of the Command Strip to the wall. The pair of magnets will keep the poster perfectly flat on all four corners.

3 Ways to Hang a Poster and Free Peonies Print Download


I love the look of bull dog clips holding up posters. But, I struggled to find a way to attach them to the wall without having to nail them to the wall. So, I came up with a solution. These magnetic backed bull dog clips offer a flat surface to adhere a Command Strip to. I also clipped two more to the bottom of the poster to pull to tight against the wall so that it wouldn’t curl up.

3 Ways to Hang a Poster and Free Peonies Print Download

Just like with the wooden knob magnets, the poster is not damaged and you can change out the art very easily.

3 Ways to Hang a Poster and Free Peonies Print Download


This third idea is the most versatile. Not only can you hang a poster, but you can also add other pieces of art as well. I simply painted a 1 yard measuring stick a dark maroon color and then hot glued on clothes pegs every 3 inches.  Then using 2 Command Strips, I adhered the strip to the wall.

3 Ways to Hang a Poster and Free Peonies Print Download3 Ways to Hang a Poster and Free Peonies Print Download

And as a little bonus for my daughters, I made a simple little message board for them using a framed 8×10 print.

3 Ways to Hang a Poster and Free Peonies Print Download

This post is sponsored by Mixbook, thank you supporting the awesome companies that help make this blog possible.